I’m a musician and writer living in Munich, Germany.
What Blogs do you run?
How did you get into tea?
My wife turned me onto tea. I was a coffee drinker until I married. While brewing her a pot, I’d sometimes have a sip. I’d had green tea on a trip to Japan, so I wasn’t completely new to tea. My heart raced when I drank coffee, and slowly I started drinking more and more tea.
What’s your favorite tea?
Dark, strong teas are more to my taste (Assam Khongea and a good Friesland Blend). I’ve slowly developed an affinity for more subtle tea, but 2nd flush Darjeelings (Singbulli and Margaret’s Hope) are still my preference. The best Ceylon seems to come from the highest elevations, so I’ll never turn down a cup of Nuwara Eliya.
What’s your preferred method of steeping? (gaiwan, sorapot, etc.)
Am a bit embarrassed about this, but as much as I enjoy other sorts of steeping I don’t have any of the gear. When I’m in a tea salon, I’ll happily go the gaiwan or sorapot routes, but at home I brew my tea in a very sturdy Art Deco pot that has treated me quite well.
What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?
This is actually what I try to address in my blog. Don’t be intimidated by the snobbery. The tea people who’s hearts are in the right place will be thrilled that you’ve joined the flock. As much as there is to learn, and it can be daunting, we all had to start somewhere.
Green or Black? Why?
Although I love Oolongs and green tea, I find myself drawn to black tea. At first, it was that I was interested in the history of tea and tea-producing cultures. I’m fascinated by Japan and curious about China, but there’s something about India that I simply can’t shake.
How many cups or pots daily?
This one’s really hard to answer. If I’m home in the morning, I can easily drink three or four pots before lunchtime, and I carry a few thermoses if I know I’ll be away. I can easily polish off seven or eight pots in a day.
Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?
When I first started doing research in preparation for my teablog, I found sites describing people getting together sharing rare varieties of tea with one another. Am sure I’d take part in such experiences if I had more of a local tea community. As it is, most of my tea comraderie is online.
Share with us some randomness?
One of my clients told me about a scam in some Shanghai teahouses where they prey on the gullibility of Western tourists. They pour limitless tiny cups of tea without explaining that each one is rather pricey. The dupe doesn’t want to appear rude, so he drinks everything that’s set in front of him, and unfortunately the bill can easily run in the hundreds of euros/dollars.